Carries are Cool, but at What Cost?

When I reflected on the state of my stream and gaming identity at the close of 2016, I listed the reasons why a viewer might find their way to me, and why they might choose to remain engaged over time.

I identified two dimensions:

  1. Entertainment value
  2. Pursuit of knowledge

I value the time of my teammates, especially those stronger players that are in high demand. I am immensely grateful to have the opportunity to game with them on stream, and hope to continue developing those relationships over time. Playing against opponents stronger than oneself is imperative to improving one’s individual competence. After the dust settles, you can bet we’ll have a good time no matter what titles we pick up in the future. Come Destiny 2 (or more! Who is to say?), we’ll still be kicking ass and taking names.

In spite of my best efforts to discourage the behavior, there are people who come to my stream when I’m running close to the end of a passage, and ask if I might help them along. This message is for you. Be forewarned, it comes straight from the hip, and I still love you…

I have all the respect in the world for everyone who attempts carries. When the Trials of Osiris first went live, PullRequest and I would carry AnarchistBee to the Lighthouse every week. From time to time, I pick up a viewer from my stream to join me in a fight for glory.

I’ve known for a long time that my own time here is limited. As I grow through the years, my ability to prioritize improves. If I wanted to, I could play the game from the time that I woke up until the time that I passed out from sheer exhaustion. My eyes would suffer, my dog would probably shit the bed, my gameplay would suffer… and for what? Playing games, by itself, doesn’t pay the bills. I know this because I’ve been gaming since the SNES days, and it’s done nothing but require continued reinvestment of my time, energy, and money.

I recognize that the Destiny streaming community goes hard when Trials of Osiris is in session, and that many of the community’s top streamers made their rise to partnership by the strength of their Trials of Osiris game. The early movers offered free Lighthouse runs and Trials of Osiris help. To this day, there are countless individuals offering free Lighthouse runs, yet there is a market for Trials of Osiris carries, and it’s glaringly transparent. One can find listings on eBay, of all places. There’s also SherpasofDestiny.com, whose banner ads served through Google AdSense can be found on a variety of Destiny-related websites. At the time of writing, Sherpas of Destiny charges $55 for a guaranteed flawless run (account recovery). For an additional $10, Sherpas of Destiny will let you play along.

Let’s face it – good players are in tight supply, yet money talks, and people listen. With that in mind, I’m instituting a tiered paid carry system. The harder that my carry partner and I have to struggle on your behalf, the more that you pay. On the bright side, you’ll get more time on air in exchange for your coin, the better to reward our efforts.

Someone reading this might think, “OMG, this yetieater guy is a real prick. He thinks he’s too good to play with me?!”

I tell you what – it’s not you, it’s me. I’m a good guy, but I’m also aware that not everyone plays the way that I do. I still consider it an honor whenever I have the opportunity to run with a high-level player. In many ways, I’m like you, guy who thinks I’m a prick! If I had things my way, I would occasionally bag a kill (or two, or three) while the other two members of my fireteam did the heavy lifting.

What if I have no money to put towards a carry, you ask?

I offer nothing but tough love and the truth: either 1) git gud, or 2) hustle harder.

There’s always the third option: get lucky. Thank you for reading, and I wish you all the best ♥

Destiny 2.5.0.2

The following are my casual observations – I’m open to hearing what my fellow guardians have experienced since update 2.5.0.2 went live.

Sidearm usage has skyrocketed – many players sound surprised when they talk about how deadly sidearms are. The Last Word vs. Sidearm is a 50/50 trade, with sidearms edging out The Last Word in a startling number of situations. It’s tough times for my go-to hand cannon, and I’ve begun running meta loadouts to increase my individual lethality in firefights.

Had Bungie been more conservative with their experimentation, they could have collected clearer data on how the shotgun nerf affected special weapon selection. We probably would not have seen such an expedient rise in the proportion of sidearm kills relative to other weapons had Bungie opted against introducing such drastic changes to special ammo behavior (removing all special ammo from players between rounds, with the glaring exception of sidearms) between rounds of Elimination.

I suspect that Bungie will eat their liver on this recent change to special ammo behavior. The present state of special ammo allows players to use sidearms as they would primary weapons. In essence, everyone and their grandmother is running around with a pocket The Last Word, only with more rounds and greater potency.

I would be pleased to see a reduction to sidearm base range – we’ll see, in time.

I Started Playing Hearthstone

I began playing Hearthstone on my iPhone 7 Plus the other day.

Some initial observations:

  • The game offers a very consistent UX across tested platforms (Windows 10 + iOS)
  • High engagement – one gets the sense that there is immense depth to the game
  • Simple concept combined with solid execution give it lasting value

I thought to ping my cousin, and learned from her that Battle.net has regional game servers. This detail was one that I’d probably picked up in the past, but it has been a while since I last played a Blizzard game. Her account is tied to Battle.net’s China server: I was surprised to find that China is an exclusive region, and isn’t included in Battle.net’s Asia region. Probably political reasons behind this move.

So far I’ve played a fair amount of Quick Play, and dabbled in Ranked. I started the game by leveling the Mage class, experimenting with new cards that I received through free booster packs. I also played with a couple of basic netdecks, using one to secure my first win in Tavern Brawl (February 15, 2017).

The game has been around for years, and there is a massive body of knowledge. Now that I’ve gotten a taste, I’d like to work on getting my gameplay airtight, with hopes of joining the infinite Arena players.

Rumble is the Best Game Type to Learn On

Whenever I solo-queue, I run Rumble.

Why?

Rumble allows you to encounter a larger number of firefights against real opponents in a shorter time-frame than anywhere else.

Through Rumble matches, you’ll quickly gain map knowledge, and pick up tricks in the process.

Rumble places you under frequent pressure to perform to the best of your ability. It challenges you to win your 1v1 engagements, and control your fights so as to guard against being killed by a third party.

In Rumble, you can find other competitive players and build your network. Personal anecdote: Rumble is how I found Sinon Sawashiro. I messaged Sinon post-game, asking if Sinon had a regular Trials of Osiris team, and we soon became Trials partners.

A word on skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) in Rumble: it’ll both build your confidence and crush your ego. SBMM will pit you up against opponents who are ahead of the class in skill, as well as opponents who are struggling to keep a foothold. Every interaction in Rumble is an opportunity to prove to yourself whether you’ve learned from your previous Destiny experience.

Rumble is not without its shortcomings. Its scoring mechanics make it such that the top fragger might not take first place.

Joining a match in progress can be frustrating, because it means you’ll likely suffer multiple deaths to supers, but with the right moves, you might come out on top.

To earn the maximum Grimoire score possible from Rumble, you must win 100 Rumble matches. At my winrate, this takes just over 300 Rumble matches played.

To become good at Destiny, simply play 1000 Rumble matches.

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